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by son Richard O. Crawley

John Crawley was born in 1871, in Kent, on the outskirts of London. His parents Charles Crawley and Marion (Karup), were modestly well-to-do. They educated John with the assumption that he would go to university and enter a profession or the civil service. He was sent to public school, the misleading title applied to the private boarding schools of the time, where gen­ tlemen's sons were given a strict classical education in preparation for Oxford and Cambridge.

John Crawley was a rebel against the system from start to finish. He hated the confinement, the strict discipline, and the spartan life of the school. Maybe he had inherited some Viking genes from his Copenhagen-born mother, for he loved the outdoors and the solitude of lakes and forest with a deep and abiding passion. So he was sent to Manitoba as a farm pupil.

It was not uncommon in the 19th century for ap­ prentices to have to pay for their training while working long hours for their masters. Still, it seems incredible today that such a system would exist in agriculture. It was practised mostly by English families who sent their younger sons to experienced Canadian farmers, and paid for their initiation into the art of picking roots and walking behind the harrows.

John Crawley's teacher was a man by the name of Barrett, who lived in the Empire District, east of Clanwilliam. During his first winter, 1889, he shared life in the Barrett household with John Hassell, an artist of growing reputation and the latter's brother, Owen. The irony of the situation was that the Hassells were paying guests and were treated as such; Crawley was a farm pupil and got to do all the work while their host lived comfortably and lazily on their money. In later years the ex-pupil used to talk about the division of responsibility that winter. He would spend the evenings rolling cigarettes, an art which he had learned from a French housemaid. The Hassell brothers provided the tobacco and paper and Barrett smoked the finished product.

Home of John and Ethel Crowley.


After working for a year or so for a farmer by the name of Ernest Currie, John Crawley took a homestead of his own, where he lived for several years with his mother, now a widow. He thoroughly enjoyed this stage of life, for there were many diversions. He enjoyed the work for he was a big robust man, and the fact that much of their food was obtained by hunting and fishing ap­ pealed to him.

Beyond that, there was an active and busy social life, as the homesteaders got together on many occasions. One Scottish lady used to say that she could always tell when the English family a mile east of them was horse racing on Sunday because she could hear John Crawley cheering them on.

In June of 1897 he married Ethel Averill. She was only seven when the family came to Manitoba, a frail child whom one doctor had predicted would never survive the first winter. She proved him wrong to the extent that by the time of her death at 80, she was the matriarch of some 26 or more descendents, counting in-laws.

John Crawley retired from active farming in the mid- 1930's and spent much of the rest of his life hunting and fishing. He was a familiar figure for many years with his jeep, his cigar and a dog. John died in 1966.

John and Ethel Crawley had six children: Erica, Roger, Pax, Antony (Tony), Mary and Richard.

Erica married Robert Brandon, lived on their farm north of Clanwilliam, now a widow, lives in Clanwilliam.

Roger attended high school in Minnedosa during W. W.I living with his grandmother, Marion Crawley, at 110 2nd St. S.E. In later years he served on the board of directors of Minnedosa Credit Union, and was board secretary for a number of years. He was also a licensed Lay Reader of the Anglican Church. He spent all his life on the farm which his parents established in 1897, and still lives there.

Pax married Edith Averill, still lives on the farm which he purchased in 1931. They have three children: Douglas, married Carolyn Robins, lives on his parents' farm which he had taken over from his father, who is now retired. They have two children, Jane and Lois. Rosemary, married Don Hamilton of Solsgirth. They have four children, Greg, Gary, Heather and Donna. Harry and wife Gwen have two children, Joe and Katie. Harry attended high school in Minnedosa, graduated in engineering at U. of M. is a design engineer for Versatile Mfg., Winnipeg.

Antony (Tony) attended high school in Clanwilliam, taught at Chapleau Indian residential school, later studied Theology at St. John's College in Winnipeg, ordained priest of Anglican Church at Edmonton, 1930. He spent 10 years at Ft. Chipewyan, Alberta, returned to Chapleau as principal, then spent many years in churches of the Peace River country. Tony retired to Edmonton, and died in 1971. He married Lucy Ball, and they had four children: Antoinette married Walter Vance, (four children) Brian, Scott, Leslee, Susan. David married Louise Wilmot, is presently Archdeacon of Rupertsland, (Winnipeg). They have two children, Hope and Sarah. John married Darlene Monette, two children, Pax and Jason. Margaret married Ken Murray, three children, John and Robyn and Kellie.